from BTIA security consultant
Well, it looks like our luck has finally run out! After almost one full year of no major tourism crimes, I am sad to inform everyone that there were two armed robberies at the Xunantunich Maya Site this morning (May 7). Between 9:00am and 9:30am, a tour group of four guests from Chaa Creek and another group of four independent travelers staying in Hopkins were robbed at gunpoint while touring Xunantunich. Luckily there were no injuries, just loss of money and valuables. There were at least four bandits who were all young Spanish males who spoke only in Spanish and all wore masks. There were possibly others involved because one of the bandits was seen talking on a hand held radio to someone. Probably, a lookout. They were armed with shotguns and machetes. The Hopkins group was assaulted first by all four of the bandits while they were walking on a trail near El Castillo and then the Chaa Creek group was assaulted by two of the bandits as they descended the South side of El Castillo temple. After the assaults, the bandits held the victims for a short period of time and then fled into the bush in a westerly direction toward Guatemala.
The Benque Viejo police and BDF arrived on the scene shortly after they were notified. Statements were taken from all victims and witnesses and an investigation was initiated. I cannot confirm if there were police or BDF patrols on the site at the time of the incident but I was informed by a park employee on the scene that there was not.
I would like to advise everyone to take precautions when touring any sites or attractions in the immediate area of the Guatemalan border. While it is too early to speculate that this might be a repeat performance by an organized group as we experienced in 2006, it is still better to work on the side of caution until we have more information. Check your communications equipment and track your tour groups closely. This was a bold attack in broad open daylight in the middle of Xunantunich, so please be careful! Also, please remember to report any criminal or suspicious activity to the police immediately and to BTIA.
Please feel free to contact me directly, if I may be of assistance in any way.
BTIA Security Consultant